Tag Archives: SkiCom

Ski Vacation Specialist SkiCom Assists Skiers, Riders Looking Further Afield for New Mountain Experiences

Red Mountain, British Columbia is one of the under-the-radar mountain resorts that Ski.com says skiers and riders should consider (photo by Dave Heath)

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

Increasingly, the world is skiers’ oyster with more and more people venturing to Europe, Asia and Australia for an entirely different downhill experience.

The consolidation of the mega-resort companies – Vail Resorts and Aspen/KSL – and their acquisitions of resorts spanning the nation and even the world gives new incentives for season-pass holders to go further afield from their “local” or familiar mountain, even “shopping” for where the best snow may be or novel activities or amenities. This makes the services of a travel agent with particular expertise in mountain resorts to assist with the logistics (air, car rental, lodging, even rentals, etc.) more in demand. Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, for example, provides unlimited access to Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia and Parisher in Australia (for summer 2018), plus limited access to 30 resorts in Europe; meanwhile, Vail Resorts’ acquisition of Stowe Vermont, its first in the Northeast, gives passholders greater incentive to spread their wings in pursuit of new places for an alpine experience.

SkiCom, a travel agency/broker specializing in skiing and mountain resorts, brings that expertise cultivated over 50 years,  especially when venturing to more off-the-beaten track, even exotic or remote  destinations, out of your comfort zone, where help with lodgings, transportation, and non-ski or après-ski activities brings extra value.

 

“We are continuing to see a trend of people buying their Epic Pass early to take advantage of early-booking discounts and then picking their destinations and making travel plans later,” says Dan Sherman, chief marketing officer for Ski.com. “In some cases, Epic Pass holders will even purchase plane tickets to Denver, which locks in their dates, but they wait until closer in do decide on their destination. As the consolidation of major ski resorts continues, we expect to see new pass products hit the market, which could affect where and how often destination skiers travel to the mountains.” Ski.com sells the Epic Pass as well as the Salt Lake Super Pass, which are often-times cheaper than paying the day rate at the ticket window. A Mountain Vacation Specialist can help determine this when booking a package for travelers.

The company reports that Japan is becoming a highly sought-after ski destination, particularly for those on the hunt for powder who also enjoy the cultural experiences these resorts offer. Europe is also in higher demand this year, particularly for those looking to capitalize on airfare deals and also take advantage of the strong dollar against the Euro.

Ski.com just added additional Japanese locations to the inventory, one of nearly a dozen countries the company books for traveling skiers. Also, a recent partnership with Club Med offers skiers all-inclusive travel options in the European Alps.

 

Club Med now has 20 resorts in the French and Italian Alps (and just announced it will open its first in Canada, in Quebec’s Le Massif de Charlevoix ski region in 2020).

“People know us for warm weather properties, but what is different about Club Med’s ski resorts is that the vacation is truly all-inclusive: flights (aboard commercial airlines, not charter), transfers, accommodations, food and beverage, lift tickets, lessons, activities, snowshoeing kids programs, kids clubs (also inclusive of beginner, intermediate and advanced ski lessons) – the only thing not included are the rentals. Every property has something different” says Katie Riguzzi, of Source by Katie, representing Club Med at a Ski.com media event.

She noted the world’s flagship ski destinations are seeing a stronger increase in visitors from around the world. For instance, guests from the U.S., Canada and Brazil are booking more ski vacations in the Alps.  They are also becoming more interested in Asian ski destinations. These guests are traveling for the different experiences each destination can provide: Champagne powder in Japan, chalet atmosphere in France, cuisine in Italy, etc.

“The international appeal for ski is very evident at Club Med resorts, and the resorts are properly prepared to welcome all guests. Club Med employs staff members from all over the world to break down language barriers and they are equipped to provide top-of-the-line accommodations, concierge-level services and authentic culinary experiences that vary by region to highlight local flavors, but also adapt to the clients’ customs and comforts. Club Med continues to grow its ski offering in Europe, Asia and now North America, providing plenty of unique bucket-list destinations.”

The rising demand for all-inclusive experiences has resulted in Ski.com expanding its guided trip program as well as partnering with Club Med to offer trips to Club Med ski destinations in Europe. Ski.com offers 5 guided trips this winter to Japan and to the Powder Highway in Canada. Ski.com‘s demand for its Top Resorts remains high but the company is also seeing increased demand this year for Europe in general and also powder-themed vacations like Powder Highway and hell ski trips.

Guided Trips for the 2017-18 season include:

Hokkaido, Japan: January 13-29, 2018 & January 27-Febuary 3, 2018. Enjoy 6 days of guided skiing in or around Niseko (wherever the snowfall is most abundant), as well as 7 nights lodging, breakfast and more. More details here.

Canada’s Powder Highway IRed Mountain + Whitewater, British Columbia
February 25-March 4, 2018: Located on the infamous “Powder Highway,” this guided trip includes 3 days of guided skiing at Red Mountain and 3 days of guided skiing at Whitewater with options to add cat skiing as well. Lodging at each location as well as transportation and reception dinners included. More details here.

Canada’s Powder Highway IIPanorama, Kicking Horse & Revelstoke, March 3-10, 2017: Explore some of Canada’s best powder and check heli-skiing off your bucket list with this guided trip to PanoramaKicking Horse and Revelstoke. The trip includes 7 nights of lodging, 6 days of guided skiing, option to add hell-skiing as well as daily breakfast, après ski, transportation and more. More details here.

Off the Beaten Path: 7 Under-the-Radar Ski Resorts

Ski.com: Bormio, Italy is the perfect ski vacation for those looking to get away from it all (photo provided by Ski.com).

Ski.com’s best-selling resorts include Vail, Aspen/Snowmass, Breckenridge, Deer Valley Resort, Beaver Creek, Steamboat Springs, Park City, Jackson Hole, Telluride, Whistler/Blackcomb (CAN), Zermatt (Switzerland), Chamonix (France).

But while these are the best-sellers, Ski.com is also showcasing resorts that are off-the-beaten path.

“Skip the lift lines this winter and head off the beaten path. Resorts that take a little longer to get to, often reward skiers and riders with fewer crowds, untracked powder and down-to-earth mountain towns that make you feel at home,” says Sherman.

Taos, New Mexico: “Taos is one of those places where you step back into an era when skiing was simple,” says Ski.com Mountain Vacation Expert Bryan Donnelly. Rising out of the Northern New Mexico desert, the town and resort are in the middle of nowhere – part of the ski area’s charm. Taos resides in the famed Sangre de Cristo mountain range at an altitude of 8,000-plus feet. The high elevation, combined with New Mexico’s arid climate yields bone-dry champagne powder. As a cultural center comprised of Native American, Spanish, and Anglo tradition, a ski trip to Taos is like going to a faraway land. On your way to the resort, you’ll notice adobe buildings, art galleries and a Native American Pueblo. The resort matches what the town’s culture has to offer with every kind of terrain imaginable at Taos Ski Valley, “from wide open bowls and long groomers to crazy cliffs, chutes and some of the steepest terrain this side of Wyoming,” says Donnelly.

Grand Targhee, WyomingOnly 42 miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming and with stunning views of the Tetons, Grand Targhee is likely a resort you’ve likely never been to, but one that should be on your radar. Only 12 miles from the closest town, Driggs, Grand Targhee retains the laid-back, grass-roots vibe of Wyoming and Idaho country. The resort receives a whopping 500 inches of snow annually, but this hidden gem rarely sees crowds or extensive lift lines. With a quaint base village, live music at the local bar, and no high-rise condos to block the vistas, Targhee is a must-visit for skiers looking for private powder. Combine Targhee with nearby resorts Jackson, Sun Valley, Big Sky and those near Salt Lake City for an ultimate road trip.

Red Mountain, British ColumbiaFor amazing skiing and 3-bedroom condos with private hot tubs on the cheap, Red Mountain is the affordable luxury resort you’ve been dreaming of but maybe never heard of. The ski area is considered by some as one of the last great undiscovered resorts. Located in the low-key town of Rossland, B.C., Red Mountain is two hours from Spokane International Airport.  Since its beginning back in 1896, Red Mountain has retained the charm on which its reputation was built. The resort was recently put up for crowd-funding, with the slogan “fight the man, own the mountain.” This anti-establishment (going against the grain of recent mergers) mentality can be felt at the laid-back resort. With terrain for all abilities, from wide-open groomers to steep tree skiing, Red Mountain offers up something for everyone. Take advantage of the Canadian exchange rate for additional savings and put this resort on your bucket list.

Schweitzer, Idaho: Nestled in Northwest Idaho 12 miles from Sandpoint and less than two hours from the Spokane, Washington airport you’ll find down-to-earth Schweitzer Mountain Resort. This rustic, quaint ski area is considered a hidden gem because you won’t have to fight crowds or waste your ski vacation in lift lines, and also, because there are 3,300 acres of skiable terrain and a consistent 300 inches of snow annually. Schweitzer has a wide variety of terrain options for all level of skiers, and the snowmaking capability to cover all their intermediate and beginner trails if by chance there’s a low snow year. Plus, the views atop the resort of Lake Pend Oreille aren’t too shabby either. As a bonus, if you fly Alaskan airlines to get there, you can ski for free the day of your flight.

Sun Valley, IdahoSun Valley started as a playground for European nobility and Hollywood stars in 1936, when it opened the world’s first chairlift. Today it is home to a handful of Olympians, yet remains under the radar. Bright, sunny days with comfortable temperatures combined with long, wide-open groomed runs and awesome scenery are the many reasons to add Sun Valley to your bucket list of ski resorts. The resort offers a laid-back atmosphere with the highest standards of service as well as over 70 runs, a 3,400-foot vertical drop and more uphill capacity, per skier, than any other ski area. “The best part about Sun Valley,” says Dan Sherman, “ is that you can still drive to and park at the base of the mountain for free. You’ll never have worry about standing in lift lines, not even on a powder day.” Characteristics you’d be hard-pressed to find at the majority of North American ski resorts.

Whitefish, Montana: Minimal crowds, stunning views, great nachos, and that laid-back Montana vibe make Whitefish a hidden gem to add to your vacation bucket list. Skiers used to Colorado and Utah crowds will feel as if they have their own private mountain. On a clear day, the resort’s notorious “snow ghosts” or pine trees coated in fog and ice, create great photo opportunities, as does the view of the surrounding mountains (Whitefish is located t the northern most end of Montana near Glacier National Park) and lake. The friendly, low-key town offers a slew of accommodations for all budgets, as well as local bars with character to wet your whistle. “Whitefish has a feeling of exclusivity,” says Dan Sherman, “like it’s your own hidden treasure that you don’t want anyone else to ever discover.”

Bormio, Italy: Bormio is the perfect ski vacation for those looking to get away from it all. The remote hamlet is located in the Italian province of Sondrio, near the Swiss border. Due to its remote location, Bormio has very few crowds, which make the ski resort’s spacious, woodland slopes that much more enjoyable. As site of the 2005 Alpine World Championships, Bormio boasts world-class facilities. The historic village exudes ancient charm and provides visitors with plenty of quaint, reasonably priced accommodation options. Since Roman times, Bormio has also been known for its relaxing thermal baths. On-mountain, intermediates will love the wide-open and moderately pitched slopes. Terrain park enthusiasts will love the superpipe and slopestyle course, while a beginner park ensures novices learn in a safe manner.

Dog-sledding in Breckenridge, Colorado, one of the Vail Resorts included on Epic Pass. Ski.com can arrange non-ski activities © Eric Leiberman/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Another benefit of using a ski specialist to help coordinate a long-distance vacation is mitigating the cost. With the rising cost of skiing, “people want to make sure they’re receiving more value for the higher cost,” Sherman says.

“This is where Ski.com can help. In addition for being able to hunt for the best price, we really excel by matching people with the vacation components that are right for them. Also, not too long ago, all you needed for a successful ski vacation was a hotel, a chairlift and a bar. Now, resorts offer world-class amenities, spas, dining, improved family and ski school facilities and additional on- and off-mountain activities.”

Ski.com is one of the largest providers of mountain vacation packages in North America, with relationships with more than 120 destinations worldwide and over 4,000 properties. The company has booked travel for more than one million skiers and riders over the course of almost 50 years. The company is a one-stop shop for custom ski vacation packages that can include everything from discounted lift tickets, lodging, flights, equipment rental, ground transfers, lessons and off-mountain activities (such as dogsledding or nordic skiing).

Visit Ski.com (you can do an on-line chat with a specialist) or call 800-908-5000 or 970-429-3099.

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© 2017 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com,  www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin , and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Hurry, Hurry, Get Your Ski Pass Deals; Take Advantage of Greater Flexibility, Options

Heavenly Mountain at Lake Tahoe is part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass which also gives access to resorts in Australia, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Heavenly Mountain at Lake Tahoe is part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass which also gives access to resorts in Australia, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

Hurry, hurry, get your deal on a 2016-17 ski pass. I really mean hurry because the best deals on season passes are expiring.

The biggest, best innovation is that more and more season passes incorporate flexible opportunities to ski multiple ski resorts, and now, more encompass deals across the country, so you aren’t locked in to, say, New England or the Rockies.

One of the most sensational values in the ski industry is Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass™ which affords unlimited and unrestricted skiing at 13 resorts including world-class destinations like Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City and Heavenly in the US plus Australia but is the only multi-resort pass to offer three to six days access to European skiing and snowboarding (depending upon the resort): Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France, Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy, 4 Vallees in Switzerland, and Arlberg in Austria. Even for skiers who are not based in the West, the Epic Pass pays for itself in just over five days of skiing or snowboarding. Find out more at EpicPass.com).

Okemo, Vermont, where you can enjoy bubble chairs, has joined the M.A.X. Pass program so you can get a season pass and for the add on, give 5 days at 31 other mountains, including its sister resort, Crested Butte © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Okemo, Vermont, where you can enjoy bubble chairs, has joined the M.A.X. Pass program so you can get a season pass and for the add on, give 5 days at 31 other mountains, including its sister resort, Crested Butte © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

While Vail Resorts’ Epic pass may be one of the most incredible deals around, unless you are a Northeasterner with the ability to fly regularly, the pass that makes the most practical sense for skiers who really like to explore is the M.A.X. Pass, which provides five days of skiing at 32 mountains across the continent, from Alaska to Maine (10 more than last year), with no blackout dates for $649 (the price goes up by $50 on Oct. 12). What is more, you can buy a season pass at one of the participating resorts, such as Okemo in Vermont (new this year!), where you would have unlimited access, and buy a M.A.X. Pass Add-on ($299)to get the five days each at the other 31 resorts (the pass pays for itself with a three-day visit).  In this way, you can make regular visits to Okemo and also have a trip to Crested Butte (Okemo’s sister resort), or Copper Mountain in Colorado. Other mountains on the list: Pico, Loon, Mount Sunapee, Snowshoe, Mountain Creek and Blue Mountain in the East; Mount Batchelor and Alyeska (Alaska) in the West. What is more, passholders also get 20% discounts on lodging, even the extra discount off special deals.

M.A.X. Pass details are spelled out at www.themaxpass.com.

Yet another is The Mountain Collective which gives you two days skiing at 14 different major resorts with no blackouts (plus discounts on lodging) for $409/adults, $99/child (12 and under). The pass also offers 50% off additional days.

Copper Mountain, Colorado: With the M.A.X. Pass program, you can have a season pass at popular Vermont resorts like Okemo and Pico and get five days to ski at Copper Mountain, Colorado © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Copper Mountain, Colorado: With the M.A.X. Pass program, you can have a season pass at popular Vermont resorts like Okemo and Pico and get five days to ski at Copper Mountain, Colorado. Copper Mountain is also part of the Rocky Mountain Super Pass © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus gives you unlimited access to Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado, plus Steamboat (6 days), Crested Butte (3 days) and Alyeska Resort, Alaska (3 days), as well as 7 days access to international ski destinations including Mt. Ruapehu, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Tomamu, Alts Bandai, and Nekoma. This pass also provides other benefits, including discounts on 20 Friends & Family tickets (10 for Winter Park Resort and 10 for Copper Mountain), and discounts on activities (like tubing), retail purchases, merchandise, lodging, and food and beverage (see www.winterparkresort.com).

Get unlimited access to Winter Park, Colorado plus other benefits with the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Get unlimited access to Winter Park, Colorado plus other benefits with the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Here’s another twist: you can buy a season pass at Bolton Valley, near Burlington Vermont, and for no extra charge (it used to be $50 extra), can have the benefits of the Freedom Pass

Ski areas are offering all sorts of innovations – Millennial passes (Stratton Mountain extended the years for eligibility from 18 to 32 (up from 29), while Mount Snow extended the purchase date for the discounted season pass to Dec. 15)

Take note: there are enormous number of packages and ski-and-stay deals online leading up to the season.

New England resorts, especially, are hoping to make up for losses due to last year’s bad weather – but are looking forward to better weather conditions (at least normal) this year, plus have made improvements in snowmaking and facilities to “weatherproof” .

Lock them in now.

Here are more details:

Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass

Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass not only gives unlimited access to 13 resorts including world-class destinations like Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City and Heavenly in the US plus Australia but is the only multi-resort pass to offer three to six days access to European skiing and snowboarding (depending upon the resort): Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France, Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy, 4 Vallees in Switzerland, and Arlberg in Austria.

Enjoy unlimited access to Keystone Mountain, Colorado, with its fabulous Kidtopia Fort and kid-friendly activities, with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Enjoy unlimited access to Keystone Mountain, Colorado, with its fabulous Kidtopia Fort and kid-friendly activities, with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The 2016-2017 Epic Pass offers unlimited access to the Vail Resorts in Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah (which with the merger of Canyons is now the largest ski resort in North America); Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and just for good measure, so you can ski in summer, Perisher in Australia. The Epic Pass allows pass holders to visit resorts as they choose, each with its own personality and distinct experience, combining unique terrain and traditions with Vail Resorts’ renowned service and unmatched resort improvements. The Epic Pass is available at EpicPass.com  ($829/adult until the next deadline is Oct. 9).

“There is nothing in the ski industry today that can compare to the value of the Epic Pass,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “The value of the Epic Pass is giving skiers and snowboarders the flexibility to ski when they want and the choice to ski where they want, and the variety of experiences our resorts offer, whether it’s the iconic slopes of Vail or Park City, or the grandeur and tradition of Europe, which should be on the bucket list of every skier or snowboarder.  Whether you ski five days or 100, no pass is tailored to the way skiers and snowboarders actually want to access the best mountains in the world like the Epic Pass.”

That access now includes four of Europe’s most iconic destinations. France’s largest ski areas, Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere  offer a unique playground to skiers and snowboarders from all over the world, accessing five glaciers, 391 ski lifts and over 800 miles of marked runs for all ability levels within a 30-mile radius. The three areas combine high-altitude skiing guaranteeing quality snow from November to May with stunning view of Mont Blanc and a 360-degree panorama of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps.  (6 days of free skiing with 2 days of skiing at each resort area)

South of the Alps, nestled amongst some of the most beautiful mountain peaks in the world such as Brenta Dolomites and Adamello (11,666 feet), is some of the best skiing in Italy. Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta is home to 150 lifts and 236 miles of ski slopes that that make up acclaimed resorts such as Madonna di Campiglio and Pinzolo in Val Rendena; Folgarida-Marilleva, Peio and Tonale in Val di Sole; Ponte di Legno, Andalo-Fai della Paganella, Monte Bondone and Folgaria-Lavarone. The winter offering is enriched by the high-quality cuisine and the exclusive “Italian style.” (3 days of free skiing)

Verbier, part of the 4 Vallees ski area, is the largest resort in the Swiss Alps, is acknowledged as one of the premier “off piste” resorts in the world, and is home to a number of professional freeride competitions. Above and beyond this reputation, Verbier is well-known internationally for its electrifying, cosmopolitan nightlife, and the resort is proud of its legendary après-ski and its lively clubs. While skiers and snowboarders from all over the world rave about this off-piste paradise and fun evenings, families also appreciate the resort’s social atmosphere and family-friendly offerings. (5 consecutive days of free skiing)

For decades, the mountain range between Tyrol and Vorarlberg, home to Arlberg, has been a highly sought-after metropolis for international ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Arlberg is widely considered the cradle of modern skiing and in December 2016, thanks to the opening of four new chair lifts, it will be Austria’s largest linked ski area. It is also where champions, athletes from Ski Club Arlberg have garnered an incredible 83 medals at various Olympic Games and World Championships. (3 days of free skiing).

Less expensive variations of the Epic Pass include:

Epic Local Pass ($609) offering unlimited, unrestricted skiing or riding at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton and Wilmot Mountain with limited restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood. The Epic Local Pass also includes a total of 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek with some holiday restrictions

Enjoy unlimited skiing at Northstar at Lake Tahoe, California, with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, including the Epic-4 Day Pass © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Enjoy unlimited skiing at Northstar at Lake Tahoe, California, with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, including the Epic-4 Day Pass © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Epic 4-Day™: A convenient option for a short ski trip. Save 35 percent versus individual lift tickets and receive a total of four unrestricted days valid at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, and Arapahoe Basin, plus four free days at Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton or Wilmot Mountain. $399 for adults and $219 for children (ages five to 12.)

See www.snow.com  for more Vail Resorts info

The Mountain Collective

The Mountain Collective gives you two days skiing at 14 different major resorts with no blackouts (plus discounts on lodging) for $409/adults, $99/child (12 and under). The pass also offers 50% off additional days.

The 14 resorts are some of the best names on the continent plus three international destinations: Alta/Snowbird, Aspen Snowmass,  Jackson Hole,  Mammoth,  Revelstoke,  Ski Banff/Lake Louise/Sunshine,  Ski Queenstown/Coronet Peak/The Remarkables,  Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows,  Sun Valley,  Taos,  Telluride,  Thredbo,  Whistler Blackcomb. In addition, it provides two days each at 2 days each at Valle Nevado in Chile (in summer), Hakuba Valley in Japan and Chamonix in France. (800-705-6286, https://mountaincollective.com/)

Here is a twist on the multi-mountain pass: When you buy your season pass to Bolton Valley near Burlington, Vt., the Freedom Pass is included at no extra charge (there used to be a $50 surcharge), giving unlimited visits with no blackouts to Bolton Valley and up to three days skiing at each of the 12 other ski areas, spanning the country from Alaska to Maine, for a total of 36 free lift tickets. These include Magic Mountain  in Londonderry, VT (which is just being acquired by a group of locals who are making millions of dollars of new investment), Granite Gorge on the Keene/Roxbury Line in southwestern NH is close to Keene State College; Black Mountain in Jackson, NH. Buy your Bolton Valley All Access Season Pass* before prices go up after Sept. 30. (www.boltonvalley.com/tickets-passes-rentals/seasons-passes/Freedom-Pass).

Ski.Com

Ski.com can help you choose and get the best deals at 120 different resorts, like Breckenridge, one of the top trending resorts this season, and book special events, such as dog-sledding (photo by Eric Leiberman/Travel Features Syndicate)
Ski.com can help you choose and get the best deals at 120 different resorts, like Breckenridge, one of the top trending resorts this season, and book special events, such as dog-sledding (photo by Eric Leiberman/Travel Features Syndicate)

Need help planning? Ski.com – an agency that can tell you where you can use your boarding pass the afternoon you arrive for free skiing for the rest of the day; where to go for an on-mountain dining experience (Bavarian dinner at Keystone, Heavenly’s Saturday night gourmet meals with wine), which are the best for families, where you can take advantage of free guided snowshoe tours (Copper Mountain), or learn about the new Amtrak service to Winter Park from Denver’s Union Station (accessible by light rail form Denver International Airport – could work for outbound trip, trickier for inbound), and all the umptium details that go into booking a ski vacation.

You can book online at more than 120 different ski resorts (4000 different lodging options);  search by the top resorts (currently trending: Vail, Aspen/Snowmass, Breckenridge, Deer Valley Resort, Beaver Creek, Steamboat Springs, Park City, Jackson Hole, Telluride, Whistler Blackcomb, and Zermatt) or by preference (such as budget, luxury, private homes, ski in/out, or best sellers). Or you can search by your interest. They can book every aspect of the ski trip including air, transfers, dining experiences, lessons, rentals, children’s programs.

The site offers featured lodging and lift ticket deals, plus thousands of ski vacation package deals in the system/ You can  call or chat online and browse ski vacation deals by visiting our all deals page or check out our top affordable resorts and lodging.

If you are unsure of where to go, you can call, chat or email with its 65+ knowledgeable Mountain Vacation Specialists or use a new, intuitive Resort Finder tool. If you’re looking for deals, visit the Deals page or ask one of the Mountain Vacation Specialists about current discounts and promotions. After determining where you want to go and stay, Ski.com can also help you book the rest of the package, including flights, ground transportation, rentals, lift tickets, lessons, activities and  all the elements of a vacation. You can book the complete ski vacation through Ski.com over the phone, in a live chat, using our online booking engine, or via email. You can also check out guides and tips on theSki.com Blog and the Ski.com Packing List.

Using Ski.com is free, can save you time researching on your own because it is a one-stop shopping place; it can save money because of negotiated discounts and deals. (800-908-5000, 970-429-3099, ski.com).

Vermont Resort Season Passes 2016-17

Season Passes at Vermont ski resorts make for one of the best deals around for skiers and snowboarders. Many resorts offer special preseason discounts. Here are this year’s highlights and pricing deadlines for Vermont resort season passes:

Bolton Valley- Pricing Deadline: Oct. 31. The Ski Bum Pass- $179 for anyone ages 18-25 and full time college students. All passes, which include the Freedom Pass, can be found at www.boltonvalley.com

Bromley Mountain- Pricing Deadline, Oct. 15. Super Value Pass– $525 – Ski Bromley 7 days a week, non-holiday with the Super Value Pass, www.bromley.com.

Burke Mountain- Pricing Deadline: Oct.10. The Judge- $899, valid at both Burke Mountain and Jay Peak Resort, skiburke.com .

Jay Peak Resort- Pricing Deadline: Oct.10. Jay Adult Season Pass- $779, Ski or ride Jay Peak every day of the week, jaypeakresort.com

Killington Resort- Pricing Deadline: Oct. 15. Adult Unlimited-$1,289, Killington’s adult unlimited pass gives unrestricted access to the Beast all season long; M.A.X.ify your Killington Unlimited Season Pass: Add-on 30 resorts, 5 days at each, 0 blackout days – starting at only $299 for adults, and $199 for youths,  www.killington.com.

Mad River Glen- Pricing Deadline: Oct. 15. Adult Full Season Pass- $771; A free season pass is available for kids 12 and under with the purchase of a Family Mad Card or any Adult Season Pass. The Family Mad Card-$209. Get 3 transferable day tickets good any time during the ski season plus free season passes for all kids who are ages 12 and under.  Receive $5 off any additional full day lift ticket purchased throughout the season, www.madriverglen.com.

Magic Mountain: Pricing Deadline: Oct. 31. Couples Unlimited Pass-$858. Magic offers 2 passes for couples living at the same address at a discount this season, www.magicmtn.com

Middlebury College Snow Bowl- Pricing Deadline: Nov. 30. Adult Season Pass-$420. Ski or snowboard at the Bowl all season long for under $500; Student Season Pass- $310. (7th grade through college), www.middleburysnowbowl.com.

Mount Snow- Pricing Deadline: Dec. 15. Drifter Pass-$399, offers unlimited access, with no blackout dates for those aged 18-29, www.mountsnow.com.

Okemo Mountain Resort- Pricing Deadline: Oct. 10. Peak Pass -$1,359 provides skiing and snowboarding every day at Okemo with no restrictions.  M.A.X. Pass Add On,s $299 until Oct.12, www.okemo.com

Pico, Vermont, is now part of the M.A.X. Pass program © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Pico, Vermont, is now part of the M.A.X. Pass program © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Pico Mountain: My Pico, My Way.-$449, Get unlimited access to Pico Mountain all season long for under $500, www.picomountain.com.

Quechee Ski Area: Family of 4 Season Pass-$625, www.quecheeclub.com

Smugglers’ Notch Resort- Pricing Deadline: Oct.31. Adult Season Pass-$609, www.smuggs.com.

Stowe Mountain Resort- Pricing Deadline: Nov. 6. Young Adult Pass (19-34) $599,  www.stowe.com

Stratton Mountain Resort- Pricing Deadline: Oct. 10. Strattitude Pass -$329, valid every day with no blackout dates for ages 18-32 (the age raised from 18-29), www.stratton.com

Sugarbush Resort . For20s All Mountain 7 Pass- $469, features unlimited skiing and riding at Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen for ages 19-29; Mt. Ellen 7 Plus Pass- $985, Ski Mount Ellen plus 5 days at Lincoln Peak (anytime) and enjoy spring skiing at Lincoln Peak after Mt. Ellen closes. www.sugarbush.com

Suicide Six- Pricing Deadline: Nov. 30. Adult Season Pass-$449, valid every day. All season passes at www.woodstockinn.com.

See SkiVermont.com for more info.

 

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